We all have a story to tell. It might be a story from our childhood or our family. Maybe we have a story from school or college. We tell stories of events we’ve attended, vacations we’ve enjoyed, and experiences we’ve lived. We live our lives in story. And one of the stories Jesus invites us to share is our faith story. It is the story of our relationship with God and God’s people and how we’ve come to know of each through relationship with Jesus our Lord. Yet, unlike the stories of the people we know, places we’ve been, and events we’ve experienced we are often hesitant to share the story of our faith with others. Some are afraid people might be offended by our sharing it with them. They might if we are trying to force the other person to believe what we believe. But sharing our faith story when situationally appropriate is not an offensive act in and of itself. It’s sharing who you are with another person in an effort to connect with them in a more deeply relational way.
Maybe the more basic reason is because when we think about it we’ve never really thought about what our faith story is and how we would share it with others. In the Living Lutheran, a monthly magazine mailed to every congregation in the country, there is a one page article entitled “I’m a Lutheran” that features a person in our denomination and their responses to various sentence prompts related to the story of their faith and life. The people featured are from all ages and walks of life. Olivia is a fifth grader from Onalaska, Wisconsin. Carol W. Carroll is an engineer from Saratoga, California.
Peter Meyer is a musician, father, brother, and fellow world passenger from Nashville, Tennessee. Jenna Novosel is a junior at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. They range in age from child to senior citizen, and their stories are the ones I look forward to reading about in each issue. Each of their faith stories are fascinating to read in their own unique way. In the same way I am sure your story of faith and life would be just as fascinating.
The challenge is figuring out just what to say. And how or when would you share it? Here’s my idea. Each month we too will feature a “voice of faith” in our Messenger from one of our congregants who is either nominated by another person or elects to share it on their own. They will be given the following sentence prompts to offer a brief response that will be shared in an up-coming Messenger. Even if you’re not nominated I encourage anyone reading this article to genuinely reflect on each of the prompts and think of how you would answer it. Write it down. Say it out loud. Why? Because there will likely be an opportunity in your daily life when your response to one or more of those prompts will allow the Holy Spirit to use you in sharing your story of faith and life with another person. In doing so you never know how the Holy Spirit may call, gather, and enlighten them to a new or deeper relationship with God in Christ. So, how would you answer the following
- When I pray, I pray for _______ .
- I believe _______ about God.
- Church means ______ to me.I struggle wit ______h in my journey of faith and life.
- Grace means ______ to me.
- My favorite Bible story is ________.
- I have learned ________ in my faith and life experience.
- It’s important to be involved in my congregation’s ministry because________ .
- My advice to others is ________ .
- I live my Christian faith from a Lutheran perspective because ________.
- People might be surprised to learn ________ about me.
- My favorite part of doing what I do is________.
- I share my faith by _________.
Whether you plan to share your story in the Our Savior’s Messenger or not, I hope you take the time to reflect on how you would faithfully respond to these prompts and then by the Spirit’s urging share your story with others. You never know when your story will impact another’s story that leads them to God’s story of Jesus and his love for the world.